I Know What To Expect At Christmas & Birthdays Kit


Christmas and Birthday parties caused Tom to feel anxious.

Like many autistic children, Tom struggled with changes to his routine. He worried about not understanding what was happening and why his usual activities and food were different. He was often tearful, frustrated and distressed.  

 If visitors came to the house or we visited family and friends he’d become confused and unsettled as he didn’t know what was expected of him.

Using visual supports showing Tom what was going to happen at Christmas and birthdays and reminding him how to behave towards family and friends helped make these special events manageable and less stressful for everyone.

With the Christmas and Birthday kit, you can use the TomTag system to create portable and discrete personalised visual routines, and social rules reminders to help your child understand these special events so like Tom they can say ‘I know what to expect at Christmas and birthdays too’!

Key benefits

  • Creating a visual routine for special events eases your child’s worries about the unknown and makes for a more enjoyable experience for all the family
  • Showing your child where special events fit into their regular routine at home and at school, particularly around Christmas time when different things are happening in both places helps prepare and reassure them in advance about changes to their normal routine
  • Familiarising your child with Christmas and Birthday items and traditions means your child knows what to expect on these special occasions and gives them time to ask any questions or share any worries they may have.
  • Preparing for visitors and visits  to other people’s houses by showing your child who they will be meeting and how to behave helps to reduce their social anxiety
  • Quickly and easily adapt your routines when something different is going to happen
  • Portable, discrete and durable compared with paper and board alternatives means you can take them with you when you’re out and about to reassure your child as needed

Kit contents

  • 3 TomTag Button Holders
  • 25 blank buttons to give you the flexibility to create multiple routines and prompts
  • 1 attachment loop to fasten TomTag to a hook, belt, or bag
  • Easy to follow instruction sheet to assemble your TomTag
  • Christmas & Birthdays sticker pack which contains

72 different symbol stickers (2 copies of each) for

    • Christmas: Father Christmas, Christmas grotto, advent calendar, Christmas stocking, Christmas sack, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, concert, Christmas card, turkey, mince pie, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, Christmas, no school, Christmas cracker, hymn, pantomime, carol singing, Christmas tree, decorations
    • Birthdays & parties: birthday, birthday card, cake, party, treats, balloon, blow candles, magician, dance, party clothe72s, party game, gift, present, unwrap, ear defenders, champagne, buffet, alcohol
    • Visitors & visiting: aunt, uncle, cousin (male & female), grandparents, family, visit, visitor, relative, relative’s house, home, friend, friend’s house, house, neighbour, church, go by bus, go by train, go by car
    • Manners: hug, kiss, join in, shake hands, patient, please, thank you, hello, goodbye, chat, polite, manners
  • 12 blank round stickers for personalisation
  • 8 blank rectangular stickers to label your TomTag Button Holders

Click the gallery to view the symbol images


  • TomTag Button Holder:18cm x 3cm
  • Buttons: 2cm diameter

The TomTag I Know What To Expect Range 

The TomTag I Know What To Expect range was originally designed by a mum to help her autistic son, Tom. With this range, it’s quick and easy to make personalised visual timelines, schedules and reminders which can be used anywhere in the home, at school, in care settings or when out and about.

TomTag visual supports can provide structure and guidance to the day or week ahead, helping to lessen anxieties and manage expectations about what is going to happen. This can lead to improvements in behaviour, communication and encourage personal responsibility and independence. 

These are truly versatile visual supports.  Use the tags singly to highlight sections of the day or particular events. Work towards using just one tag to cover a whole routine or time of day. 

TomTag is easy to clean and keep hygienic. TomTag’s plastic button holders and blank buttons can be washed in warm water and a little hand soap should they become dirty and dried with a soft cloth. The stickers are highly water-resistant. Simply wipe over with a wet cloth or anti-bacterial wipe.

How does TomTag work?

TomTag uses symbols to show a series of separate tasks or steps involved in a task that are part of a routine, a sequence of events in a timeline or they can be used as a list to teach a new skill by breaking down a single activity into smaller steps.

Many children with autism and other additional needs have strong visual skills. They are more likely to remember and understand what they have seen rather than what they hear. Using a visual support like TomTag to present information visually and in a step-by-step manner allows visual thinkers and learners to take in information at their own pace. Visuals can also act as a reminder when children forget what’s been said or become distracted, TomTag helps to bring their attention back to the task or current  

WARNING: Please note – TomTag is not a toy. Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts.

Symbol images produced under licence from Widgit Symbols (C) Widgit Software 2002-2022 www.widgit.com. All other images (C) Orkid Ideas Limited 2022

Additional information

Kit type

basic kit

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